Differential exposure to organophosphate flame retardants in mother-child pairs.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Humans are ubiquitously exposed to flame retardants, including organophosphate esters (OPEs), through direct contact with consumer products or exposure through household dust. Children are at increased risk because of their proximity to dust, hand-to-mouth activity, and the importance of childhood as a critical period in neurodevelopment.


To quantify differences in exposure levels between mothers and children (three to six years of age), we analyzed urinary metabolites of OPEs. We additionally assessed the ability of silicone wristbands (measuring ambient exposure) to predict urinary metabolite concentrations.


We selected 32 mother and child dyads from an existing cohort. Participants provided baseline urine samples and wore wristbands for one week. After the first week, they returned their wristbands and provided a second urine sample. During the second week, participants wore a second wristband that they returned at the end of week two with a third and final urine sample.


We found significantly higher levels of bis(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (BDCIPP) (p < 0.001) and lower levels of bis(1-chloro-2-isopropyl) 1-hydroxy-2-propyl phosphate (BCIPHIPP) (p < 0.001) in children's urine samples compared to mothers' samples at baseline. We found that triphenylphosphate (TPHP), tris(1,3-dichloroisopropyl) phosphate (TDCIPP), and tris(1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate (TCIPP) measured in wristbands predicted their respective metabolite levels in urine.


Children had higher levels than mothers for two of six flame retardant metabolites measured in urine. Generally, wristband measurements positively predicted internal dose. As little is known about the health effects of OPEs on child development, future research is needed to determine the impact of differential exposure.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gibson, EA; Stapleton, HM; Calero, L; Holmes, D; Burke, K; Martinez, R; Cortes, B; Nematollahi, A; Evans, D; Anderson, KA; Herbstman, JB

Published Date

  • March 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 219 /

Start / End Page

  • 567 - 573

PubMed ID

  • 30553217

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6460923

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-1298

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0045-6535

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.12.008


  • eng